Welcome Arletta Dawdy!
I’m thrilled to have Arletta with us on the blog today. She’s a member of Women Writing the West and terrific author.
CP: Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where you live, work, hobbies, etc.
AD: Hello, Carmen and thank you for inviting me to your blog. I live in Sonoma County on the NoCA coast, an incredibly beautiful area. I’ve been here for over half my life, raising my children with my husband. I was a social worker until retirement let me turn to writing full-time.
I love being in nature, reading and music…jazz and classical mostly.
CP: How did you get started writing novels?
AD: I had two stories driving me in the early 80’s that now reside in storage. Fascination (read: obsession) with my brother-in-law’s one liners about his grandmother Josephine compelled me to conceive of The Huachuca Trilogy.
CP : For inspiring authors, will you give one nugget of advice they can put in their tool chest?
AD: Define your dream, carve out a roadway to pursue it and keep at it.
CP: Tell us a little about Rose of Sharon.
AD: The third in the series, Rose of Sharon is orphaned, lost and in need of a family; she finds hope only to lose it again when the mental illness of her new mother, attempted murder, a painful inter-racial love affair and abandonment prevail. Rose’s paranormal gifts, including her communication with a fictional character from the future, and her writing successes set her apart as she moves toward fulfillment.
CP: What inspired the title?
AD: Blame Steinbeck for his work has influenced both careers. I studied The Grapes of Wrath to get Rosasharn’s language and attitude and picked apart critics’ views in painting her into my work.
CP: What inspired Rose of Sharon?
AD: When I was writing Huachuca Woman, the first in the trilogy, the ideas of having a Southwestern artist and writer began to emerge. Maggie O’Brien, painter, snuck into HW, thereby ruling out having such a character lead in #2. I’ve always admired Tiffany’s work and so By Grace became the story of a jewelry designer who flees from a killer. That left needing a writer for #3 and the early Rose of Sharon took hold.
CP: Who is your favorite character in Rose of Sharon and why?
AD: I always find myself appearing in my protagonists so, of course, Jo, Grace and Rose are my favorites in the books. We often share similar life themes: depression, abandonment issues, harsh obstacles and independence of action. They are iconoclasts for their period.
CP: I understand this is the third book of the trilogy. Would you tell us a little about the first two books and how Rose of Sharon fits in to the trilogy?
AD: Each woman’s story starts with birth at about the same time, 1880 and the location in the Huachuca Mountains of SE Arizona Territory. Josephine, whose whole life is covered in Huachuca Woman, makes cameo appearances in the next two books. As stand-alones, they can be read in any order. While there are elements suitable for young adult readers, I don’t recommend them for folks under 16 due to an occasional sex scene.
CP: Where can readers find your books? Do you have a website?
AD: All the books are available on Amazon.com and Kindle; they can be ordered from your favorite bookstore or found in the trunk of my car!
My website is: http://www.arlettadawdy.com/
CP: Would you be willing to share an excerpt?
AD: Sure. This scene happens about mid-book When Rose is alone at the ranch and resting from tending the garden when Rosasharn visits:
Ain’t you the one. Any idear how lucky y’all are to have that there good ol’ soil and a runnin’ crik to feed it?
“Is that you again? You about scared me out of my wits. And, here I was, almost asleep,” said Rose to the other girl whose presence she not only heard but sensed physically.
Y’all just betcha it’s me. Who else comes visitin’ if I kin ask?
“None of your business,” Rose answered.
Well, la-di-da, ain’t you special-like. I reckin’ it’s some boyo comes courtin’. Best not be my Connie.
“Connie? I don’t know a Connie.” Rose felt a brisk breeze attack her cheek. “Ow, did you do that? Who are you anyway?”
So what if’n I did? You betta not be after my Connie, like I tol’ ya. And I already tol’ ya. I’m Rosasharn Joad. You ready to write my story? I know’d most of it, but not all.
Rose let out a big sigh and paused before trying to answer the troublesome spirit. “I don’t know how to tell your story. You talk of things I don’t understand like’ bowls of dust,’ and bein’ ‘tar’d of ridin’ in the sun’ and something about ‘jalopies.’”
Ya’ll sayin’ I’ma lyin’? Rosasharn’s voice gentled down, almost daintily so.
Thank you again, Carmen, for this chance to share my work.
My pleasure Arletta. Best wishes.